Lead Safe Certification – NJ NEWEST Lead Paint law

If you think Lead paint in rentals is not a concern, THINK AGAIN!   NJ’s NEWEST lead-based paint law goes into effect in July of 2022 and directly targets ALL pre-1978 rental properties.   This new law is being referred to as, New Jersey’s Lead Safe Certification and will require lead-paint inspections, (Visual &/or Dust wipes) on all nonexempt rental property at turnover. Additionally, every three years going forward, it will increase lead-based paint hazard education to state residents and will fund New Jerseys Lead Hazard Control Assistance Act. 

So, what does this Lead Safe Certification law require of a property owner?

If you rent pre-1978 property that does not qualify for one of the exemptions, beginning July 2022, you will be required to have a Visual Lead-Paint Inspection.  Not only that, but also possibly obtain lead dust wipe samples upon turnover of every unit or every three years and obtain a Lead Safe Certification, (which is only good for two years). 

This inspection, (visual and/or dust wipe) can only be done by  1) Municipal local agency inspection program,  2) a NJ DCA certified Lead Evaluation contractor hired by the municipality OR  3) the property owner can hire directly a NJ DCA Certified Lead Evaluation contractor to provide the required inspection services.  All of whom will assess a fee for the inspection services.   

Beginning July 2022, all NJ rental properties that are not exempt will be required upon their first turnover or within two years of the effective date to complete their initial Lead Safe Certification inspection.  Going forward this law will require property owners to continually re-certify their units as Lead-Safe at either turnover or every three years (whichever comes first) and Lead Safe Certifications are only valid for 2 years. 

If no lead-based paint hazards are found during the inspection, the local agency or the DCA certified lead evaluation contractor shall certify the dwelling unit as lead-safe on a form prescribed by the department of Community Affairs.

If Lead based paint hazards are found, they must be properly addressed by either lead-based paint abatement or lead based paint hazard control methods.   Additionally, if the lead evaluation entity (municipal or private) finds that a lead-based paint hazard exists in a dwelling unit upon conducting the inspection pursuant to this law, the lead evaluation contractor or permanent local agency shall notify the Commissioner of Community Affairs. Upon reviewing the finding in accordance with Section 8 of the, “Lead Hazard control Assistance Act” if Lead Hazards are identified in a two or three family pre-1978 rental property, the law requires the remaining units in the property also be visually and/or dust wipe sampled.

The law further requires that “upon completion of correcting any Lead-Based paint hazard identified during the visual Lead Safe Certification Inspection”, the Lead evaluation contractor or permanent local agency shall conduct a follow up inspection (visual &/or dust wipes) of the unit to certify that the hazard no longer exists.   Additional fees may apply.

To utilize NJ resources most appropriately, the law has implemented a two-tier public protection inspection requirement.  If your rental property is located in a municipality where more than 3% of the children 6 years of age and younger in the community have a blood lead level of equal to or greater than 5ug/dl (CDC old Reference Value) the local agency or NJ DCA Certified Lead Evaluation Contractor shall inspect for lead based paint hazards through dust wipe sampling in addition to a visual inspection for deteriorated painted surfaces.  

Owners will be required to provide copies of all Lead Safe Certifications (per unit) and leases to the DCA inspector during their 5-year multiple dwelling inspection.  Property owners will be required to provide copies of a current or newly issued Lead Safe Certificate to new residents specific for the unit they will be renting as part of the lease documents. If a resident resides within the unit during the Re-Lead Safe Certification renewal cycle (3 year) the resident must sign a copy of the Lead Safe Certification and such documentation must be maintained  

Failure to comply with NJ Lead Safe Certification requirements can incur fines of up to $1000 per unit per week.

What to do to get ready for compliance?  First do you meet one of the following Exemptions? (1) the property has been certified to be free of lead-based paint, – (2) the property was originally constructed during or after 1978 , – (3) the rental unit is in a multiple dwelling that has been registered with the DCA as a multiple dwelling for at least 10 years, either under the current or a previous owner, and has no outstanding lead violations from the most recent cyclical inspection performed on the multiple dwelling under the “Hotel and Multiple Dwelling Law,” – (4) is a single-family or two-family seasonal rental dwelling which is rented for less than 6 months duration each year by tenants that do not have consecutive lease renewals; or  -(5) has a valid lead-safe certification issued in accordance with this section.

If not, watch HUD’s visual assessor course to know what the municipal or DCA Lead Evaluation contractors will be looking for.  Understand and assess, (prior reports or current lead inspection data) where your units do have lead-based paint and where they don’t as defined by the law.  If you have not tested for lead based paint and the property is pre-1978 original construction, the law states you must assume it is lead-based paint, which can be an expensive and costly lack of knowledge.  Know where your lead paint is and focus your unit turnover hazard correction treatments on those areas and properly document in compliance with the requirements of this new Lead Safe Certification Rule. 

Lee E Wasserman, is founder and president of LEW Corp., LEW Environmental Services and NAETI.  since 1992 Lee has been actively involved in the environmental industry with a concentration in property oriented environmental needs with a nationally recognized subject expertise in the Lead-Based paint field.  LEW has been a recipient of multiple housing awards; a prior board member of the NJ POA and NYC ABO and LEW has been recognized in numerous publications as well as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developments Guidelines for the Evaluation and Control of Lead Based Paint and Lead based Paint Hazards (2012).  www.lewcorp.com or 800-783-0567 or 908-623-7857


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